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Merz is in her second year trying to steer Thyssenkrupp, the long-ailing German industrial conglomerate, back to health. Since the dire days of October 2019, when she went from supervisory board member to interim chief (she got the job officially six months later)—and became the third CEO in 16 months—she’s pressed ahead with a swift and radical restructuring, selling off the company’s profitable elevator unit in 2020 and off-loading its mining and infrastructure businesses and an Italian stainless steel mill this year. She’s cut thousands of jobs and vows the portfolio cleanup will continue. The streamlining effort, combined with increased demand across its businesses has Thyssenkrupp’s numbers moving in the right direction, though the company, which had $39.7 billion in revenue last year, still expects to post a net loss for the year due to restructuring costs. Merz, who serves on the Volvo and SAF-Holland boards, is also pushing Thyssenkrupp to less carbon-intensive forms of production (i.e., hydrogen)—though that will be a long journey, and the conglomerate is aiming to spin off its steel unit next year.


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